The way I see it, if the doctors knew best, shouldn't they be outliving the rest of us?
Ok, so I was eating at my parents house and I see a small tub of "Benecol" (my mom uses it, my dad refuses, he uses butter). It's a vegetable-oil based butter substitute if you're unfamiliar. It's "supposedly" a miracle cholesterol reducer. It's mostly canola oil and soy oil.
So anyway... when I saw it, I couldn't help but to tell my mom how bad it was for her. I've been telling her little things here-and-there about eating less grains and more animal fats, etc. But I guess this time she took it as more of an attack. (Ooops...)
So we started to argue over the fact that so many doctors say sat. fat is bad and cholesterol is bad and fiber from grains is good, etc, etc. VS. what I've been telling her and these other people that say the exact opposite. She's convinced that modern science can *create* food that's better for us than nature can.
Also, she says that her mother and grandmother used to cook with lard, use full fat milk, etc. and all her relatives ended up with high cholesterol and various sicknesses - but she refuses to consider that it might have been the grains they also ate, or the alcohol they drank, or lack of nutrients (she grew up in an area that didn't exactly have lots of fresh fruits and veggies at the time).
I think my case was also a bit weakened by the fact that I previously ate a vegan diet, and, at that time, expounded on the evils of eating meat and pointed out all sorts of articles supporting THAT view.
So basically, I wonder how it is that we can really KNOW that this primal way of eating is the "right" one. I'm not questioning it myself. I can't think of anything else making more sense. Even while a vegan, I had "internal questioning" going on since I had known about the paleo diet years before going vegan - and although thinking I was being "morally" correct by eating vegan, I wasn't so sure it was really the best for my health.
I guess I'm just venting more than anything else. What can you do right? Dealing with this stuff is just like dealing with someone's religion.
Interesting thread...everybody that maintains a primal diet goes through similar issues. I work in the medical industry and listen to cardiologists tell patients to change their diets every day. What is their recommendation? Of course it's 60-70% whole grains, very low fat, very little meat, etc.
The healthy grain, low fat theory is so deep seeded in human culture it's not going to change overnight. However, more physicians and nutritionists are seeing the light every day. Momentum is building. In a few years this type of diet is going to go mainstream and everybody on board right now is going to look like a genius.
I rarely mention my diet anymore outside my own home. It's not worth the effort...people would rather stick their head in the Conventional Wisdom sand, it's much easier and more comfortable. Best of luck, hopefully you can bring your loved ones over to the Dark Side!
Thanks for posting NeoPaleo. Since I'm so new to this I've been going thru the "internal questioning" and trying to educate myself on the various types of diets out there, PB included. Like Get Primal said, the healthy grain stuff is so "deep seeded" in society you can't help but question it!
And, I think it's ok to pose these kinds of questions. The more we learn the better educated we become.
Okay, first of all, the claim is that the plant stanol esters lower LDL cholesterol. We know that lowering LDL is not going to help you: you need to lower triglycerides and raise HDL. Let's not forget the recent study showing heart disease patients with lower LDL had higher mortality, and vice versa.
From the Benecol website FAQ:
Do BENECOLŪ Spreads contain trans fatty acids?
The amount of trans fat contained in BENECOLŪ Light and Regular Spread is less than 0.5 grams per one tablespoon serving. BENECOLŪ Spreads are labeled as 0 grams trans fat because the spreads contain an insignificant level of trans fat.
And here's the ingredients for their regular spread:
Regular Spread Ingredients
Liquid Canola Oil, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Plant Stanol Esters, Salt, Emulsifiers, (Vegetable Mono- and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin), Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA to Preserve Freshness, Artificial Flavor, DL-alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Colored with Beta Carotene.
So let's note..not soybean oil, but partially hydrogenated soybean oil. This is a product marketed to heart patients, individuals prone to heart disease, etc. and it contains trans fat. If I hadn't had my capacity for shock and disbelief burnt out already, I would assume it was a fake product made up for a bit in The Onion.
How the FDA thought a 0.5g reporting limit for ingredients was acceptable regardless of the scale of serving size, I don't know. When the serving size is a tablespoon, you can make the third ingredient of thirteen trans fat and it simply becomes "0g".
I argue these points with carb/cardio crazy molecular biologists that my wife works with, so when they start losing the arguments I become significantly more confident that at least this is something close to the best way.
I don't know how you really "know". I've said before that everything I read about health and fitness seems to contradict something I've already read. Going Primal makes sense TO ME, so I'm giving it a go. I'm still new and still easing into it, but my physical condition is good... I can afford to experiment until I find what works best for me. In the end, I guess that's all each of us can do.... make ourselves the example. Prove it to ourselves (one way or the other), then help educate anyone who's interested.
I agree it is getting harder for people to find fault in the primal diet. Even CW will tell you that butter is better for you than margarine and if you tell people that you are trying to eat natural foods in their minimally processed state, no one really finds much fault in that.
Neo, Your mom has earned the right to worry about you, I'm sure she is as concerned for you as you are for her. Avoiding hydrogenated oils and eating low GI foods is getting pretty mainstream, maybe you can bang that drum a little. Dr. Weil is a CW guy, but he is a pretty good gateway to primal in a way in that he preaches from a natural and low GI point of view. Also, reading Stephan's blog is eye-opening, he casts doubt over all those studies that the media and Dr's regurgitate.
GetPrimal, Since we are being phylosophical and dreaming here, I worry that the world isn't big enough for everyone to go primal. Wheat, corn and rice have allowed human population to grow to where we are. If we give that up what will happen? I don't know. Maybe that is the CW in my poking out. (flame away everyone
Is it the RIGHT way of eating? I don't know by like I said, it is hard to find fault in natural food and when you realize that you can't die from carb deficiency, can it do much harm (I know saturated fat, I know - phewy)
It's grandma, but you can call me sir.
grandma: "Even CW will tell you that butter is better for you than margarine and if you tell people that you are trying to eat natural foods in their minimally processed state, no one really finds much fault in that."
Not sure about that...low-fat everything is still extremely popular, and if the nutrition label says 0g trans fats, people seem to accept it, nevermind the mile-long ingredients list with partially hydrogenated oils and bizarre chemicals. I have a good friend who lost a considerable amount of weight on CW (although he's hit a plateau now, and despite being strong and looking fine with a shirt on, he still has quite a bit of fat), and he regularly doles out CW advice like having 5 or 6 small meals a day, low-fat, blahblah. Yet I never see fruits or veggies in his fridge, and when he goes shopping it's all bread, granola bars, processed cheese, processed meat, margarine...
Anyway, that leads me to why I feel primal is the best way for me: it's as natural as possible. CW-style eating made me feel sluggish, sickly, bloated, and prone to cravings. When I tried vegetarianism briefly a few years ago, I felt limited and I always wanted to devour a steak. Primal, on the other hand, makes me feel pretty awesome.
The way i see it, nature has been around a damn sight longer than any of us and when the human race has destroyed itself, the only thing left will be the natural foods sources us primals are eating.
Nature knows best, she has sustained the human race for thousands of years and in the past 100 years we suddenly think we know best !!! Thats my 2 cents !
I gotta say NeoPaleo I sympathise with you, it's really frustrating when people are so deeply ingrained with CW that they refuse to see the logic in PB/paleo type diet. I'm also doing my personal training certification and have just started training people and I need lots of relevent points to encourage them to change their ideas on diet.
Not only that, Im starting a degree in September to become a dietician- can you imagine what I'm gonna be taught??? Anyway, I read a great book recently called Trick and Treat by Barry Groves, big proponent of high fat low carb diets and exposes some unbelievable truths about the vested interests and covered up research within the medical industry- some great points in there if people you know like your mum or future clients need convincing! Jx